(Last Updated on : 17-07-2015)
Dharmathakur is a Hindu god
worshipped by the villagers
in the Indian state
of West Bengal
. Also called Dharma Thakur, Dharmaraj or simply Dharma, the deity is worshipped mainly by castes Bauri, Bagdi, Hari, Dom
etc. He is regarded as one of their special village gods
. The deitys presence is prominent in the traditional Rarh region of West Bengal.
History of Dharmathakur
The root of the worship of this deity is not known clearly. There are various opinions regarding the worship of Dharmathakur. As per one scholar, Dharmathakur has come down with the lower community
of common people. The community formed a majority at one point of time and had no right to Brahminical learning. At that time many Brahmins
started migrating to Bengal in large numbers who had no links with Dharmathakur. The deity was not a personal-god but a community-god who was worshipped by large groups of non-Brahmins such as Haris, Doms and Chandalas
. Researchers opine that many important patrons of his worship were Brahmins who wrote most of the scriptures dedicated to his worship like include Mayura Bhatt, Manik Ganguly, Ghanarama, Sahadeva Chakravarty, and Ruparama. It is believed that the Ghanarama festival, in which modern-day adherents worship Dharmathakur is named after the Brahmin Ghanarama Chakravarti.
Worship of Dharmathakur
A shapeless stone daubed with vermillion mainly represents Dharmathakur. He is normally placed under a tree
or an open area, but sometimes he is also worshipped in a temple
. The worship takes place in the months of Baisakh, Jaistha and Asarh on the day of full moon and sometimes on the last day of Bhadro.
Vahana of Dharmathakur
Vahana means a vehicle on which the deity rides. In mythology
, Vahana denotes typically to an animal
. All Hindu gods and goddesses
are said to have vahana and Dharmathakur is no exception. The vahana of Dharmathakur is believed to be horse but in some places elephant
is also used as a vahana. In the region of Rarh, one will observe the symbolic use of terracotta and wooden horses.
Festival in Honour of Dharmathakur
The festival organized in the honour of Dharmathakur is called Dharmer gajan
or Dharmas gajan. The horse is an integral part of this festival. During Dharmer gajan, certain rituals are performed that are similar to those observed on the death of a person. Skull dance
is common during this festival.